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Full text of "NightRider"

304

which he had received and which Mr. Murdock and Mr. Sills
had received, Mr. Munn had not anticipated the act.   Others,
he guessed, had also received such letters and had said nothing
about them.   He had never mentioned the letters which he
himself had received.   Not a week before that night at Pro-
fessor Ball's academy, the night when Doctor MacDonald read
aloud the letter to Mr. Murdock, Mr. Munn had received such
a letter.  That letter had directed him to take no negro tenants
for the coming year.   Sitting in his office, at his desk, he had
read the scrawled words.   The paper was worn and dirty, a
scrap   of  wrapping  paper,   apparently.    The  writing  was
smeared, as though the paper had been carried loose in a
pocket.   The letter had been mailed, the postmark indicated,
from Morganstown.    Sitting there, Mr. Munn had, for a
moment, tried to visualize the man who might have written
the letter: a man gripping the cracked stub of a penny pencil,
hunching over a kitchen table under a tin lamp, twisting his
face in the painful and awkward concentration.   But he had
not been able to visualize that face, a face, he had been sure,
like so many of those faces which he might see on the street
on a Saturday afternoon, long, bony, red like dried clay, or
sallow, a face like faces which he had seen staring up at him
at the organization meetings of the Association.   It had been,
in his imagination, like all those faces.   But he had not been
able to fix it and be sure of it, for the true face would not be
like any other face; it would be different from all those other
faces, individual, positive, unique, full of its own life, its own
cunning, its  own  hope,  bitterness,  appetite,  and  hatred.
Slowly, he had torn the sheet of paper into small bits, and
had dropped them into the basket beside his desk.

The third and last letter he found in the mailbox at his
farm. It read: "We done told you twict to throw them
niggers off yore place and put some white min on like we said
and you aint done it. Instid you go and git shet of a white
man which is named Grimes and put on a nigger in Ms place.
We give you thre days to git shet of them black bastuds."
Mr. Munn read the letter, straining to make it out in the fail-